Weight Watchers Review

What Is It?

On the scene for more than 40 years now, Weight Watchers is a lifestyle diet that emphasizes low fat foods, exercise and a supportive environment. You’re not going to find any startling scientific breakthroughs here — but that’s no slight. For Weight Watchers, the secret to weight loss is learning healthy habits and sticking with them for the long haul. Indeed, Weight Watchers’ stance recently has been that isn’t a diet at all. That’s the message in its new advertising campaign, which features the tagline: “Stop dieting, start living. Weight Watchers works because it is not a diet.”

Like any consumer brand that’s been in the market for some time, Weight Watchers occasionally introduce changes to keep it current with the times and give consumers more options. However, the company continues to champion its basic points-based approach to portion control in which all foods have specific point values. Ultimately, Weight Watchers doesn’t dictate what will go on your plate, but supplies the information, tools, and support to assist you in making healthy choices.

How it works

Weight Watchers offers a range of dieting options geared to different consumer interests and needs. Flex Plan (which is a reworking of the Points Food System) is the basic points program. It provides points values for a comprehensive list of more than 27,000 foods. Values are calculated based on a food’s calories, fat and fiber.

Followers of Weight Watchers are assigned a daily “points target” based on their height, weight and other factors such as gender. In addition to a daily points target, there is something called a “weekly allowance” to that lets you indulge from time to time without going off your diet. Under the Flex Plan system, any food can go on your plate as long as you control portion size to remain within your points target. If you join the online program, you gain access to an easily searchable food database and a daily tracker to stay on top of your daily point totals.

Unlike Flex Plan, Weight Watchers’ Core Plan doesn’t involve counting. Instead, you eat until you feel satisfied and then stop eating. The plan emphasizes a diet of healthy foods that have the characteristic of being filling although they are not high in calories. Approved foods include avocados, potatoes, salsa, brown rice, lean meats, and the like. You can combine these foods any way you like to create your meals throughout the day. A requirement of this plan is that you learn to be sensitive to your feelings of hunger and fullness — so you don’t overeat.

Weight Watchers places strong emphasis on the role of a supportive environment in successful dieting. Members are invited to attend weekly meetings and encouraged to form support networks with people sharing similar experiences. The meetings are run by trained moderators, who provide motivation and information about nutrition and fitness.

For those who prefer online get-togethers, weightwatchers.com offers an alternative meeting place. Participants can tap into the same dieting motivation and information, while also forming virtual support groups in the chat rooms and message boards.


Weight Watchers offers thousands of recipes and food suggestions on its website. You’ll find old standards good for any time of the year as well as seasonal and special occasion recipes. All the recipes have Flex Plan points values.


A healthy lifestyle includes a healthy amount of exercise, so it’s to be expected that Weight Watchers would strongly emphasize exercise. The members-only website provides access to a large collection of workout demonstrations, offering both variety and motivation to keep you active. The website also allows users to track and calculate their exercise activities and incorporate the results into their daily points values.

The good

The Weight Watchers approach is sound and flexible. Healthy eating and active living is the foundation of long-term weight control, and that’s what Weight Watchers is all about. The numerous glowing testimonials showcased on the company website attest to the diet’s potential to generate results. As with any diet, mileage varies depending on usage.

The bad

Counting, whether it be calories or Weight Watcher points, is a turn off for many. The Core Plan eliminates this drawback, however.

Bottom line

Weight Watchers is about sustainability. On average, you should expect to lose two pounds a week. That might not seem like a lot next to the promises of many fad diets, but stick to the program and the weight will stay off. At a cost of about $5 a week, Weight Watchers is also price competitive. No diet plan is perfect for everybody’s needs, but Weight Watchers has done a good job of creating a diet solution that works for a price most people can afford.